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Bubble Rap

Soap star plays New York.

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Like a lot of kids, Fan Yang was fascinated with bubbles as a child. (He grew up poor in Vietnam, and his play was pretty much limited to watching the local river’s glimmering rush and flow.) But unlike most kids, whose glee lasts about four minutes, he sustained his interest into adulthood, especially after he started reading about the chemistry of soap. Now, a few decades in, and with a dozen Guinness records under his belt, Fan is bringing Gazillion Bubble Show to New World Stages. How does he sustain a two-hour show with a dish of suds and a couple of wands? The 24 Vegas-style segments incorporate electronic music and a laser show and several calls for audience members to come up onstage. At one point, a participant ends up inside a colossal bubble that, surprisingly, doesn’t pop very easily. “I spent a lot of time finding the right mixture,” says Fan. “I use glycerine, aloe vera, olive oil—but I can’t tell you any more because it’s a secret.” (A nontoxic one, he’s quick to add.) Even with the mysterious liquid science down pat, Fan says, he still has to check and double-check atmospheric conditions and lighting within the theater just before showtime. He’s mighty serious about his craft: “This is not a trick,” he declares most sternly. “It’s art, science, talent, and skill.”

1/17–1/23 and 2/15–3/30; New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., nr. Ninth Ave. (212-239-6200 or gazillionbubbleshow.com); $34.95, $41.


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